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Dear Designers, I am Not Your Billboard | Manolo for the Big Girl

Dear Designers, I am Not Your Billboard

A recent article of Plumcake’s resonated with me on a gut level. Like her, I have a fiery hate of annoying things written in tacky ways across clothing and accessories. But there’s another thing that sticks in my craw at least as badly, and that’s when designers and manufacturers write their own names and stick their logos all across perfectly good clothes, purses, and jewelry.

I don’t need the word ‘Juicy’ emblazoned across my well-padded rump. I don’t want my purse be covered in interlocking Fendi ‘F’s. I’d rather not announce to the world that my scarf is made by Somebody Famous. None of this says I have class, but rather that I am so insecure in my choices that I have to prove my good taste to the world. I don’t need to do that. I don’t want to pay top dollar to act as a walking advertisement for your products. I have no interest in being an unpaid spokesperson by the simple act of walking down the street.

I would much rather choose my clothes and accessories by color, cut, and quality. If a particular designer floats my boat by making great clothes that make me look and feel my best, I’ll buy…but only if I don’t have to play billboard.

Mind, I’m not against having a small, discreet logo somewhere or wearing a piece that a particular design house is noted for. Chanel quilted purses with chain straps are fine by me. I’m down with that.

What I’m flat-out in hate with is the concept of something that is seen to be by a particular designer not because of style but because it has someone’s name emblazoned over the entire freaking piece.

Let me put it this way: you should pay for the billboards and ad space. I should not have to pay to be your ad space.

Make clothes that I fall in love with. Make purses that are ingeniously practical yet stylish. Make shoes that make my feet sing hallelujah in comfort and joy, comfort and joy.

But if you want me to be your ad space, you can pay me…not the other way around.

21 Responses to “Dear Designers, I am Not Your Billboard”

  1. kitty December 27, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    Amen. I detest overly-logo’d and legible clothing. Why not just staple bank notes to your clothes if you want to show how much money you have?

  2. Margo December 27, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    Word, Twistie – it’s so annoying, and on many levels – the insecurity, the shallow materialism, the plain ol’ obviousness of it. Just ghastly.

  3. Marie Denee December 27, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    So very true! I am sooooo happy I am not alone in this! You know it is very unfortunate that many items I will pass up just because it is covered in “advertisement”.
    What is even more unfortunate, many of the urban designers that actually fit my juicy bootie do not get any love from me because of the logo. Nellie, form Apple Bottoms was one of the few designers that I know that actually minimized his logos (especially on his plus line) for this particular reason!
    Juicy in Plus size does not have any logos on the bum!
    Great article! Thank you fo sharing my own frustrations!

    Marie Denee
    “Never let your Curves define your style- Let your STyel Define your CURVES!”

  4. Bree December 27, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    I don’t mind the little labels (I have a Kathy Van Zeeland purse which has her name on subtly on the bottom) but to have it plastered everywhere actually makes it look tacky and trashy, not classy.

  5. Plumcake December 27, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    Sing it, Twist.

    The other day I saw this woman of a certain age who was perfectly dressed in a slim suit and chic jewelry. Lovely, but the outfit was ruined by wearing a scarf that had Chanel printed all over it. It couldn’t have looked more “gift with purchase” if it had tried. Tragic.

  6. Vicki December 27, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    About five years ago, I stopped wearing clothing with words on it. My life is still good; my closet is still full.

  7. B.S.A.G. December 27, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    The book No Logo mentioned that many high school students nowadays believe that celebrities pay product companies for the privilege of endorsing them – they confuse which one is the “star” and which is the “brand”.

    I don’t think I’ve ever found a big-name designer item I liked enough to pay for the name. If I did (in my size, for a price I could afford…all highly unlikely as it is), a conspicuous logo blazoned on it would probably be a deal-breaker.

  8. TropicalChrome December 27, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    You said it. I don’t mind a small, discreet mark (I am wearing a sweater right now that has a small crest embroidered on it in matching thread that is very hard to see), but I do not want to walk around with my clothes screaming “Look who made this!”. If the quality and fit are not enough advertising for the maker, then nothing will be.

  9. Patti December 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    Amen. I wanted a Coach bag and it took me forever to find one without all of those stupid Cs all over. Drove me nuts.

  10. La di Da December 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    I love Vivienne Westwood, and I think hers are the only items I’d buy that have an obvious logo or writing on them. Because her orb logo is pretty sweet, and there have been some pretty cool interpretations and designs using it on her handbags and wallets and other accessories.

    And speaking of VW, hervia.com has a big sale on right now. There’s quite a lot of stuff for under $100. (Non-UK customers don’t pay VAT, either, so take 17.5% off the listed price too.)

  11. Karen December 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    Thank you!! I’m so glad to hear a fashionista say this. I’ve always thought Louis Vuitton bags covered in the more obvious versions of their logo are hideous. I also love the style of Coach items but don’t want the Cs…so my photo wallet just has one discreet brand stamp, and my money wallet is black on black, so the C pattern is very subtle.

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  12. rosa December 28, 2008 at 12:34 am #

    Thank you! I loathe feeding the maw of brand advertising (though I think I stand on shaky moral ground when it comes to critiquing consumerism.) Our son’s school prohibits clothing that has been “branded” and here in NYC designer fashion is the bane of many schools – whether it is the coolest sneakers that kids get killed over in public schools or the must-have $5000 Chanel bags that girls psychically murder each other over in the private schools. There are so many levels to this but of course the most obvious and problematic one is: I have, therefore I am; I have more than you, therefore I am better than you.
    We’ll see if any of this gets re-calibrated in this new economic era.

  13. MsChilePepper December 28, 2008 at 4:06 am #

    I concur, overly logoed merchandise is always tacky. I don’t mind a small logo or signature touch, like the key on the Fossil handbags I like.

    This reminds me of a friend who bought a new Jeep Wrangler, and insisted that the dealership remove the spare-tire cover AND license plate frames AND the glued-on plate on the back that were all emblazoned with the dealership’s name. She said she wasn’t going to drive around advertising for their company unless they knocked a shitload of money off the purchase price, and she made them give her new, unmarked license plate frames and tire cover instead. Ha!

  14. Peaches December 29, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    Count me out for even the small logos. Once I hit 40 it felt odd to be wearing the same polo logo that I did at 12. I even take the hanging signatures off my expensive handbags.

  15. ChloeMireille December 29, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    This is totally on the mark. I hate how everyone thinks they’re the height of fashion because they have some logo slapped all over them. And Chanel sickens me with their new totes with the giant logo on them. (Please tell me those are fake, I see them EVERYWHERE!)

    That’s my exact problem with these “urban” brands. I would love Baby Phat soooo much more if Miss Kimora didn’t put those stupid cats on everything. I don’t mind Nelly’s apple shaped pockets, but he doesn’t need to emblazon his brand name all over my butt. And don’t even get me started on Louis Vuitton….

  16. Jane H. December 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    This weekend I was looking for new eyeglass frames and tried on a pair I liked. I rejected them when I realized they said “Celine Dion” on each temple. I refuse to come to work each day with Ms. Dion’s name on my face. However, there is a tiny logo on the temples of the apple green pair I bought – but it is a more “acceptable”name that I can overlook since the color is so fabulous!

  17. mini_pixie December 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    My mom espoused this exact philosophy when I was a kid, and I can’t help but agree. People pay great sums of money to put their logo on a billboard or to sponsor something- am I not more worthy than that? It just seems so … desperate to brand yourself that way. “I’m worth something, see?” I don’t need a label to know I’m worth it.

  18. Lin December 29, 2008 at 3:23 pm #

    I feel the exact same way…I vowed back in the 80’s in grade school (when those horrible Coca-Cola rugby type shirts were all the rage) that I would NEVER be someone’s walking billboard. I am happy to say that I am 33 now and have NEVER walked as someone’s billboard. Long live my stubborn as a mule streak.

  19. MsChilePepper December 29, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    @ Jane H: HA! This reminds me of getting new glasses when I was in 5th or 6th grade. There were never a lot of options, but I finally found a pair I liked and that were in my parents’ budget. I was happy until I got home … only to have my brother point out with utter glee, “Your glasses say ‘Battlestar Galactica’ on the side!”

    O.o And they did. Neither I nor my Mom had noticed little rectangular plates with the stupid sci-fi series’ name, on both bows. GAH! I had to wear those horrid things for more than a year before I could get another pair, and I knew I had to just suck it up because money was very, very tight. However, I was mortified every time somebody noticed and mocked my glasses, and believe me, that was a lot.

    In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t try to either pry off the plates or cover them with something, being the crafty girl that I was even then. Well, I guess I didn’t try to remove them because I would have been petrified of breaking them. I got in enough trouble when they were damaged several times when I got hit in the face with the tetherball.

  20. Fabrisse December 30, 2008 at 11:27 pm #

    I am reminded of an old New Yorker cartoon with the caption — “If my mother wanted me to wear Yves Saint Laurent’s initials, she would have named me Yves Saint Laurent.”

    I eschew the logo bespattered lifestyle. There are a few minor exceptions, mostly gifts, but in general if it has a logo, it’s a no go.

  21. Miss Lou January 1, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    I buy leather handbags because they don’t have the logos all over them and they last forever. You do get what you pay for there. I too like some of the other styles of Coach or Dooney or what have you, but the only ones that don’t have logos all over them are the leather ones or the cabriolet ones that only seem to be sold on QVC.